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REVIEW: Free Birds

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment
Free BirdsDirected by: Jimmy Hayward
Produced by: Scott Mosier
Screenplay by: Jimmy Hayward, Scott Mosier
Story by: David I. Stern, Scott Mosier
Edited by: Chris Cartagena
Music by: Dominic Lewis
Starring: Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, Dan Fogler, Colm Meaney, Keith David, George Takei
Year: 2013

 

I felt like I should do something for this Thanksgiving, but, to be honest, I have already pretty much exhausted my Thanksgiving movie options after Planes, Trains and Automobiles and, to an extent, Miracle on 34th Street (unless I wanted to review the remake, too…). Luckily, last year brought us a brand new Thanksgiving film to watch just before Turkey Day: Free Birds, a film that will have you shouting at the person who announces they’re about to put it on, “Play ‘Free Bird’!” because you’ll undoubtedly rather hear a great but very long Lynyrd Skynyrd song than see the movie that apparently didn’t even have the sense to license the song for the obvious reference I just made. (It instead plays a cover of CCR’s “Up Around the Bend” as played by Social Distortion over the credits. I guess it is a much more upbeat song, but I’m not too certain lyrical context really matters to a movie like this.) When I told people what I was reviewing out of desperation for another film, they strongly advised that I instead review the Charlie Brown TV special, which… yeah, that probably would’ve been more tolerable, but I felt like I should at least exhaust all theatrical film options, and at least this film was on Netflix streaming, so I wouldn’t have to take up a slot in my DVD queue, either. So, yeah, I watched Free Birds. … Here’s the review. Read more…

REVIEW: Free Willy

April 9, 2014 Leave a comment
Free WillyDirected by: Simon Wincer
Produced by: Lauren Shuler Donner, Jennie Lew Tugend, Richard Donner, Arnon Milchan
Written by: Keith A. Walker, Corey Blechman
Edited by: O. Nicholas Brown
Cinematography by: Robbie Greenberg
Music by: Basil Poledouris; Michael Jackson (theme)
Starring: Jason James Richter, Lori Petty, Jayne Atkinson, August Schellenberg, Michael Madsen, Michael Ironside, Mykelti Williamson, Michael Bacall, Keiko
Year: 1993

 

Man, I remember a time when I could watch this movie and not think of all the horrors that went on at SeaWorld, don’t you? Thank you, Blackfish, for making the message behind Free Willy so devastatingly real now that I’m a grown man. I hate you.

All kidding aside, however, this was probably one of the first pieces of media with an activist message kids from my era ever watched outside of a “very special episode” of one of their favorite TV shows. (And that was probably the episode of Fresh Prince where Carlton bought the gun after Will was mugged.) Free Willy was the movie that dared us to care about the remarkable relationship between a troubled young boy named Jesse who just desperately needs someone to love him and set a good example for him and his unexpected friendship with a tenacious whale who was taken away from his own family and put on display for a world that doesn’t fully understand him. Read more…

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